The Yankees’ loss is now officially the Red Sox’s gain.
Right-hander Garrett Whitlock, who was selected from the Yankees’ system as a Rule 5 Draft pick in December, was officially told Thursday that he would break camp on Boston’s season-opening roster.
“With everything he’s done throughout camp, not only on the field, but also the way he acts, the way he conducts himself, that adds to the equation,” manager Alex Cora said. “We were very pleased to tell him yesterday.”
Whitlock, who is ranked the Sox’s No. 30 prospect by MLB Pipeline, hasn’t pitched in the regular season since 2019, when he went 3-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Trenton before an elbow injury ended his season. He underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2020 before being selected by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft.
“The organization did their homework, we decided to draft him, and from there on, it was up to him,” Cora said. “He did everything possible to make the team. I know he’s not going to stop trying to keep getting better, studying the game, doing all the right things for him to get to the next level.”
The Yankees’ 18th-round pick in the 2017 Draft, Whitlock has worked primarily as a starter during his three Minor League seasons, though he hasn’t pitched at a level above Double-A.
Cora didn’t say how he envisioned using the 24-year-old during the season, but it’s clear that after his impressive spring — he’s allowed one run over nine innings, striking out 12 without issuing a walk — Whitlock could find himself pitching some important innings.
“He can be a Rule 5 [Draft pick], it can be a 10-year vet, but the way he threw the ball, he’s getting better and better,” Cora said. “It’s one of those that as a manager, as a president of baseball operations, GM, whatever, is a great moment when you tell somebody that you’re going to be a big leaguer. His reaction was priceless.”
Catching a break
Christian Vázquez, who suffered a left eye contusion and laceration when an errant throw hit him in the face during batting practice Thursday, was back home in Miami on Friday to deal with a personal matter.
Cora said the catcher was feeling better on Friday morning, though he would undergo further testing when he rejoins the team on Saturday.
“The goal is for him to be ready for Thursday,” Cora said.
Step by step
Ryan Brasier, who is recovering from a fractured right pinkie (as well as a late arrival to camp this spring for personal reasons), threw a batting practice session on Thursday. The right-hander is likely to open the year on the injured list, but Cora seemed encouraged by his progress.
“He feels like towards the end of bullpen [sessions], towards the end of live BPs, leg-wise, he’s not where he’s supposed to be — and that’s obvious,” Cora said. “But as far as the arm, he looked good yesterday; no soreness. He’s still obviously getting treatment for his hand and all that, but hopefully he can keep building up and be with us sooner rather than later.”
The Red Sox optioned infielder Jonathan Araúz to the alternate training site on Friday. The club also reassigned catcher Chris Herrmann, infielder/outfielder Danny Santana, outfielders César Puello and Michael Gettys and right-handers Kevin McCarthy and Marcus Walden to the Minor Leagues.
The Red Sox travel to Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday to take on the Pirates at LECOM Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, and fans can watch the action free on MLB.TV.